21 Essential Things We Learned in 2013

Bill Lumbergh

As 2013 comes to an end, it’s crucial we look back at the greatest lessons from the news the past 12 months. How else can we expect to improve in 2014?

Below are short recaps from 21 News To Live By columns in 2013. In every piece, we found the career advice “hidden” inside the story.

Happy New Year!

1. An alarming eight percent of Millennials bring a parent to a job interview. Let’s be clear: if you show up with mom or dad, you can kiss the opportunity goodbye.

2. Grit is more important to success than talent. Angela Lee Duckworth said it … not me.

3. Gen Y is THE expert at “Saved By The Bell,” dealing with student debt and CrossFit. We should NOT act like kn0w-it-alls when it comes to marriage, like this 20-something did on The Huffington Post. Leave that topic to our parents and grandparents.

4. Without attention to detail, you might embarrass yourself and jeopardize everything you worked to accomplish. Healthcare.gov, anyone?

5. President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2013, was only two minutes long. Honest Abe knew it best: you don’t need to talk forever to be remembered forever.

Abraham Lincoln
President Lincoln would have thrived in our Twitter culture.

6. In August, a nasty Twitter feud involving Kim Kardashian brought about the idea of a #personalhashtagcampaign (ex: #DannyRubinPortfolio), in which you share your best work in a Twitter list. Simple and efficient at the same time.

7. A real estate poll last summer found mom and dad are OK if we move back home but for no more than five years. That’s why the ‘rents need to abide by parental ground rules like: “You must ALWAYS knock before coming into my room. Even if the lights are off, and there’s no sound. Even if you’re 100% positive I’m not home.”

8. Like any decent news article, your resume should always start with the lead: work experience (even an internship). Don’t kick things off with “Education.” Why? An employer cares more about your skills than where you went to college.

9. In July, Derek Thompson of the The Atlantic called Millennials the “unluckiest generation.” So when our kids are old enough to listen, we’ll tell them: avoid student loans, learn a second language, worship your credit score, save for retirement and avoid hiding out in graduate school.

10. Also in July, a beautiful opinion piece called “The Joy of Old Age” by an 80 year old made us think: what milestones should we reach by age 30? Among them: handle every work schedule imaginable, realize our college major didn’t matter all that much, start a 401k and begin to see the value of a stable situation with long-term potential.

11. Remember the Asiana Airlines debacle (also in July) when the news anchor read pilot “names” like “Wi Tu Lo” and “Ho Lee Fuk”? An intern passed that information along to the TV station. If something looks suspicious, get a second opinion. Once you hit “send,” there’s no getting it back.

Asiana Airlines
Yes, a TV news anchor actually said all four of these “names.”

12. A June article about how our generation wants a greater work/life balance spurred a conversation on why everyone in Gen Y must choose a side hustle. Do you have one?

13. Inspired by “The Internship” starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, here’s the most important rule for an intern: ask how you can help before someone asks you to help.

The Internship
Ask how you can help before someone asks you to help.

14. A shocking workplace survey found only 1 percent of human resources folks think Millennials are loyal to an employer. If you want to prove you’re not about to hop jobs, keep this in mind: a boss or HR professional wants a Millennial who is passionate about working for the company — not what the company can do for the Millennial.

15. In April, someone paid $600,000 for a cup of coffee with Apple CEO Tim Cook. Why? Because networking with the right person can change everything. Next time you network, follow these four steps: do some research before the meeting, ask deep questions, be clear about what you want and never forget a thank-you note (handwritten never hurts).

16. You can remove the words “in order” from virtually every sentence. Read this headline and take out those two words. See what I mean?

17. A survey in April found 81 percent of people don’t want to be friends with their boss on Facebook. If you want your boss to like you — but you don’t want to be a suck-up — work like hell and don’t expect a pat on the back. The respect will come organically.


Bill Lumbergh
“If I could just be your friend on Facebook, that would be greeeat.”

18. A fascinating obituary in March proved great writing comes down to the small details. Read about Harry Stamps and his favorite sandwich. So delicious, I can almost taste it.

19. Last February, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer decided none of her employees can work from home. If you clock in from the couch, remember to over-communicate and never assume folks in the office know what you’re doing. Out of sight, out of mind.

20. Also in February, we talked about cutting “Amazing” from our vocabulary. We use that word to describe everything so, in essence, it means nothing.

21. Back at the start of 2013, Justin Timberlake reminded us that when you want to leave an impression, you can never go wrong in a “suit and tie.”

(This content was originally posted at News to Live By.)

About Danny Rubin

Danny Rubin is a media strategist and the managing editor of News To Live By™, a blog for Millennials that highlights the career advice and leadership lessons "hidden" in the day's top stories. A former TV reporter, he's always looking for ways to apply the news to our own lives. Follow him at @NewsToLiveBy.



PreviousThe Smartphone Diet™ - Quantifying Holiday Calories NextReport: T-Mobile May Cover Other Carriers' Early Termination Fees

Get Briefed Every Day!

Subscribe to my daily newsletter featuring current events and the top stories in technology, media, and marketing.